Assessment & Moderation

Recognition of Prior Learning

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    Des Squire

    I have been reading a good book on RPL as a specialised Pedagogy which is available from the HSRC Press – (Details on their web site). It is definitely advocated that RPL has many benefits and in particular benefits for the Historically disadvantaged. What surprises me is that with SAQA and the QCTO advocating RPL and the Minister of Higher Education asking, why so little is happening and what is likely to happen going forward, that so few providers, assessors and moderators are actively involved in this area. Does RPL have a place and what is your take as a provider, assessor or moderator to RPL. should and can more be done to give RPL its place as envisaged by the NQF? Your comments will be appreciated.

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    Tando Qeqe

    Good day Des

    What is the name of the book?

    You can email me all the info, and i do wish to have a meeting with you,if possible.

    My email address is : or 082 422 4399.

    Des Squire

    RPL as a specialised Pedagogy – feel free to give me a call on 0828009057


    Dear Des,
    Thank you for posting this discussion. I have the book and it is well worth purchasing.
    Personally, when we started – remember back in the 2000s – right at the beginning – I thought that what we were going to do was to first identify the formal NQF level of each employee – certificates, etc.
    Then we would assess each employee for RPL to see what could be “topped up” for further qualification, and then progress individually tailored development.
    Maybe I was wrong?

    Geraldine Schoeman

    Dear Des and Colleagues

    Sylvia that was my understanding as well. Based on the assessment process, there would be a Personal Development Plan, setting out what components of the qualification could be RPL’d, and what would still need to be put in place to move towards competence across all Unit Standard Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria.

    Des to answer your question directly: Yes, without any doubt there is (should be) a very significant role for RPL. Unfortunately, those who stood to truly gain from the Apartheid’s system of allowing people to do every aspect of the work, without allowing the qualification are probably too old to find an emphasis on RPL at this point in time of any use, given that we are so many years down the line.

    We lost our appetite for doing RPL for a variety of reasons (although I must emphasise that my experience has been in the public sector and not the private sector where it may have looked completely different): (i) despite the fact that an RPL intervention is supposed to offer the coherent process Sylvia speaks off, a significant proportion of the public sector players that did show an interest wanted “quick and dirty” with an associated budget that was more than sufficient for those on the take but definitely not cost effective for those who believed in doing it wisely and well; (ii) even although workers would go through the entire RPL process, the organisations would not upgrade their employment level in line with the new qualifications achieved or for that matter use them in jobs reflecting the qualification, which is rather frustrating for all. So a wastewater treatment worker would have a brand new hard earned qualification and remain in the same labourer position at the same salary level. Kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise; (iii) not sure whether other sectors suffered from the same pernicious levels of graft, but the Water and Sanitation sector was a cesspool (no pun intended). After spending a huge amount of time and money on developing RPL materials, it was a non-negotiable requirement that we submit all our documents and materials in unprotected electronic format to the EWSETA for registration, only to find out that apparently such documents were being ‘sold’ to other parties. Because we didn’t manage to obtain definitive proof, nothing further was done. Nor did the EWSETA actually ever provide documentation that the material had officially been ‘registered’.

    I actually bowed out of the training field for a number of years because I was totally disgusted with it, and have only fairly recently entered back into the process.

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